Home NEWS Local Scene Solicitors And “Greeters,” Another Cautionary Tale

Solicitors And “Greeters,” Another Cautionary Tale


Forgive us, regular readers, for once again attempting to drive home the point that door-to-door salespeople and outwardly welcoming neighborhood “greeters” may have ulterior motives, but here we go again.

Today’s lesson comes courtesy of some wise neighbors and police officers in Lafayette.

We are frequently tipped about “suspicious cars” cruising local neighborhoods and Thursday was no exception as a steady succession of suspicious locals took a moment to notify police of a dark sedan cruising slowly through the Carol Lane, Windsor Drive and Raintree neighborhoods – the car loaded with packages and the occupants looking at specific homes.

Car stopped Thursday while cruising through neighborhoods in Lafayette. Photo: LPD
Car stopped Thursday while cruising through neighborhoods in Lafayette. Photo: LPD

Officers responded and stopped the car, speaking with the male and female occupants – who said they were working for a coupon delivery service that had provided them with a list of new homeowners in the neighborhoods and was paying them to deliver packages of coupons.

All well and good, except a standard computer check determined the male half of the duo had an active arrest warrant – for burglary. He was taken into custody without incident but the irony of the situation was not lost on law enforcement.

“A business gave a burglar (with an active warrant for his arrest) a listing of homes to visit, asking them to go to doors and see if the residents were at home,” officers wrote in an information bulletin released after the arrest.  “We will be contacting the advertisers who used the service to advise them of how their discount coupons were being delivered.”

Thursdays incident follows a recent uptick in the number of un-permitted solicitors returning to neighborhood streets, going door-to-door and asking for money or checks for everything from school field trips (which do not exist) to new solar systems.

Recently, officers responded to a report of a solicitor and located him in the neighborhood. He did not have a solicitor permit and a records check showed he was on State Parole for armed robbery. Several solicitors contacted by local police have had outstanding non-extraditable warrants from Mid-western States (because they are trucked here and released into “affluent” looking neighborhoods.

Police say they have seen a correlation between the arrival of un-permitted solicitors and a rise in crime.

Legitimate canvassers, solicitors will have city permits issued by the police department.


  1. Don’t answer the door. If they seem suspicious, call the police. Whatever you do, don’t give them any money! It’s the reason they return.

  2. They have been all over Danville lately. The come in pairs and I can’t help but think they are more interested in what s in the house than selling magazines. American Freedom Sales or something like that they didn’t really seem to know the name of their own company. Be careful please.

  3. As law enforcement will tell you , one thing not to do is pretend you’re not home…rather let them know you’re home but you’re not interested , else its possible that a few minutes later they are breaking down your back door and you might have a real situation then! I also heard it said that if you are home alone and hear the knock on the door, you should loudly talk as if to someone else and say ” I”llget the door honey ” and then go up to the door and tell them you’re not interested . ( this will give the impression that someone else is home too)
    Remember to that you must have a peddler’s permit in most cities in this area to go door to door. Best thing to do when you see these peddler’s specially when they’re in large groups I would call the police and let them come and check it out as the new story indicated was so fruitful

  4. Don’t open the door. If you do, they can force their way in. If you want to let them know you’re home, talk through the door, or through the window. If they break in the back door, you will have the opportunity to get out through the front door. Call 911. If they break in through the front door, you’re stuck in the home, and if they have a gun, you can end up tied up or dead. Most solicitors are just annoying, or they want to scam you. We rarely get solicitors, but we will continue to ignore them. For us, it’s the wisest thing to do. If we’re home, you’ll know it. We don’t live in the dark.

  5. This is why people were stupid to get rid of their 1960s and 1970s intercom systems. Bring back those nifty Nutone intercom systems!!! You can talk to the peeps and don’t have to open your door.

  6. People give them money. Thats what they keep coming back. Maybe we should write tickets to people who subidize the the people who come here every six months to run this scam.

  7. Tom, those intercoms do exist in high tech if you want. Companies like ring.com (not an endorsement, I do not know anything about them) sell an installable electronic doorbell that routes to your smartphone. So, even if you are in San Francisco, you can see who pushed your doorbell and talk to them as if you are on the other side of door. There is someone here at my work, for example, who will answered the door from here and tell the delivery guy to leave the package at the door.

  8. Getting reallly sick and tired of these people. They keep coming back and they don’t take no for an answer. Seeing people getting arrested all over lately is it them?

  9. Saw your facebook share. These people have warrants out for them apparently. The police are arresting them when they don’t check out. From the midwest? Texas?

    • From all over the nation, yes, and many have existing warrants out for them in their home states or those they have passed through as part of these crews. We’ve reported that at least a couple of solicitors contacted by police in the 24/680 recently have had active warrants or are on parole for burglary or armed robbery.

    • We agree, Danica, and we really aren’t sure why this isn’t pursued at the national level… it’s rather hard to believe.

  10. Different groups have come by three times in the past two weeks. We don’t even open the door. Two of them sat on our front porch for 15 minutes. The police seem to be arresting some o fhtem.

  11. There were two of them and we sent them on their way. Our neighbor gave them fitty bucks — but he believes in aliens and unicorns. He just shrugged when I told him it was a con.

  12. Wow. It gives me the creeps just knowing he was standing on your porch!! Something definitley made him think twice about standing there.

  13. Apparently, they don’t like cameras. Caught this fellow on video yesterday in Orinda (link below). Notice his instant reaction when he notices the camera– not waiting for a micro-second to see if someone answers the door (we were gone). Do people with video cameras not buy magazines or want to keep kids off the streets? Makes you wonder.


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